Minnesota's farmland is worth about $100 billion, and given that land often accounts for 80 percent of a farm's assets, that value has served as an economic engine. It provides farmers the collateral they need to buy equipment and grow crops.
Farmers in Minnesota expect a down year because of June's damaging weather. The bumper crop elsewhere means corn prices won't go high enough to make a profit.
Minnesota exported agricultural products worth $7 million to Russia in 2013, but that is only about 1 percent of the state's non-manufactured exports.
The four candidates vying for the Republican nomination to challenge Gov. Mark Dayton found a receptive crowd for their message that government regulations are getting in the way of small businesses like farms.
Buying 100 acres of good farmland can cost $1 million, and that amount of land often is too little to support a family.
Statewide, damage from last month's flooding has surpassed $50 million and is still rising, Gov. Mark Dayton said.
A University of Minnesota study says a recent switch from grassland to crops in southeastern Minnesota could increase the number of household wells contaminated with nitrates.
Minnesotans are spending millions of dollars to deal with nitrate contamination in their water, and the state agriculture department says it's time to insist that farmers do more to prevent the problem.
DNR Capt. Greg Salo says the blood alcohol content limit on water is the same as on land, and "people can look at boating under the influence and operating a motor vehicle under the influence as one in the same."
"We had high intensity rain, and we've got overland flow and stormwater runoff going into the river," said Pat Baskfield, of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and coordinator of a statewide river monitoring program.
Starting on Tuesday, most diesel fuel sold in Minnesota will contain 10 percent biodiesel, which is double the current portion. The requirement is the latest step in Minnesota's push for more renewable fuels.
Rain and hail have made a mess of thousands of acres of Minnesota farmland, so much so that U.S. Agriculture Department officials are out assessing the toll. They don't have a state-wide damage estimate yet, but farmers don't need an official assessment to know that the storms have created a lot of extra work.
Farm fields became ponds and roads flowed like rivers this week as downpours in Minnesota soaked saturated ground, damaging crops and threatening homes from the Iowa border to International Falls.
A state judge has declined to punish a southern Minnesota farmer for selling raw milk and violating the terms of his probation.
Ethanol producers like those in Minnesota's $2 billion a year industry are worried the EPA will effectively order a cut in ethanol production.